Last year I suggested some simple changes to one of my clients that resulted in Page 1 visibility on Google and more website leads OVERNIGHT.
It took her about 10 minutes to do.
It was so simple! Even I was surprised at the results.
What was it?
Google My Business.
A Google My Business listing shows a map and details about your business including your services, hours and specialties.
Optimizing your Google My Business listing is the fastest way to get on Page 1 of Google for free.
The difficulty of getting that Page 1 spot on Maps depends up on the competition in your market. The more reviews you have, the more likely you are to rank.
If you don’t have your wedding business listed on Google My Business, do it immediately.
If you DO have a listing, optimize it.
- Fill out the description accurately and completely using the words your couples search. Make sure your business name, address and phone number exactly match all your website properties.
- Add images and video.
- Add more business categories, if applicable.
- Get 5 – 10 reviews.
- Add the map to the contact page of your website.
Join the Acceleration membership (if you haven’t already) and go to Workshop #40 for how to get more leads with a Google My Business listing.
There’s a second way you can get more visibility and attention for free on Google…
Google Local Guides
As a Google local guide, you leave reviews for other local businesses. The more reviews you leave, the more points and privileges you earn, including free Google storage, offers from Google partners and more.
Note: you cannot promote your business directly as a Google Local Guide.
You have to sign up through your PERSONAL Google account. If you get found out as promoting your business, Google will strip you of your badges and privileges.
So what are the benefits of being a Google Local Guide for your wedding business?
Well, there’s evidence to support the idea that being a guide indirectly (and possibly directly) helps your business.
Here are a few benefits:
- Your reviews left as a local guide are powerful. This helps you build referral relationships with other local businesses and earn their reviews in return.
- Being a local guide adds legitimacy to your Google Business account, proving that you’re a “real person.” This creates credibility with potential clients and with Google. There’s no direct evidence that Google will boost your SEO as a result…but it won’t hurt.
- You get local name recognition as an expert each time your leave a review.
Pastor John T. Snelson V has left over 7,000 contributions, first as a local guide and now as his business, without the recognition. Here’s his experience:
“The theory is, the more I scratch their backs, hopefully they scratch mine.
“I have been in the number 1 local map search. I was a level 6 guide, then they caught on to it being my business page. They don’t seem to mind my 7002 contributions. Any contributions you do to Google will be on your maps page.”
“You can contribute and not be a local guide.
“Once they figured out what I was doing, they dropped the storage and stripped me of being a Local Guide. Now I just do things without the recognition, however, when people see something from me it is from my business.
“When you review something as a Local guide, Google loves it when you do a long one like this review, verses a simple blurb.”
“If google truly knows everything on the internet and uses the information in analytics then all this information has to help me somehow.”
– Pastor John T. Snelson V, OKC Wedding Officiants
Google Local Guides: Is it good for your wedding business?
If you’re the type of person who LOVES helping people and leaving reviews, this could be a valuable strategy to boost your local reputation. But don’t expect to get leads with it overnight; the effect will be indirect and difficult to measure.
I suspect this would be best for wedding planners, officiants, event sales reps and venue owners because it positions you as an expert “concierge” of your local area.
This type of recognition won’t be as effective for national or international wedding professionals. And if writing reviews isn’t your thing, skip it.
Remember that there’s no evidence that your activity as Google local guide boosts your SEO; it’s more likely that it has a cumulative effect of branding your name in a positive way in your local market.